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Group warns against alliance with mining corporation

Agreement could lead to exploiting resources in typhoon-hit areas

Ronald O. Reyes, Tacloban City

February 4, 2014

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A coalition of anti-mining groups today called on the government not to use mining companies as “development partners” in typhoon-devastated areas. 

The group Alliance to Stop Mining said that the government's “engagement” with mining firms “is meant to give way ... for possible mining investments in the future.”

While mining companies may have the funds and are able to rebuild devastated communities, “they are also very likely to exploit the natural and mineral resources in the area,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of the alliance.

“It is the government that should be shepherding the rehabilitation and recovery of the disaster-hit areas and not (private) companies,” Garganera said.

Last month, the Philippine government announced agreements with a number of private companies to assist with the rehabilitation of areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan. Of particular concern to the alliance was the selection of the mining firm Nickel Asia Corp as “lead private sector development partner” for the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province.

Guiuan is a fishing and farming community known for its rich mineral resources including bauxite, nickel and titaferous magnetite.

Nickel Asia Corp is the largest producer of nickel ore in the country, with four operating mines spread across the archipelago.

"This is clearly a corporate capture of potential developments in the area," Garganera said.

Mining operations have been ongoing in the nearby islands of Manicani, Homonhon, and Suluan.

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